Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, urging them to use their “good offices and leadership positions to urgently publish all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since the return of democracy in 1999.”
The organization also urged them to “disclose the number and details of public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly that have resulted in any indictment of suspects, and to name such suspects. The reports should be sent to appropriate anti-corruption agencies to consider if there is sufficient admissible evidence to pursue prosecution.”
In the FoI requests dated 25 July, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Publishing the reports of hearings and probes would bolster public trust and confidence in the oversight functions, and dispel the perception that many of these hearings and probes are politically motivated and serve personal interest, rather than the general public interests.”
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SERAP said: “The most effective way to deter corruption is to make the cost of engaging in these types of acts higher than the rewards. This end can only be accomplished by making public the reports and pursuing public accountability for corrupt acts. Doing so would also give Nigerians greater confidence that their lawmakers can use their constitutional oversight functions to address corruption in Nigeria.”
The FoI requests, read in part: “We urge you to sponsor a resolution to stop lawmakers from directly getting involved in the execution of projects by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to ensure the proper and effective exercise of oversight functions, including investigations of corruption allegations, such as those involving the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).”
“We also urge you to urgently use the opportunity of the ongoing public hearings and corruption probes to influence Nigeria’s anti-corruption agenda, including by immediately amending section 52 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act on independent counsel for corruption.”
“Section 52 requires the Chief Justice of Nigeria to authorise an independent counsel to investigate any allegation of corruption against high level public officials, and to report his/her findings to the National Assembly or appropriate house of assembly.”
“The proposed amendment should include additional requirements beyond merely reporting to lawmakers, that would allow the independent counsel to use the findings of any investigation as a basis to pursue effective prosecution of corruption cases without any authorisation by the executive or the National Assembly.”
“SERAP notes that both the Senate and House of Representatives have over the years conducted several public hearings and corruption probes to expose pervasive problem of corruption in MDAs.”
“SERAP is concerned about the systemic and widespread corruption allegations in MDAs and among high-ranking public officials, and the negative impacts on socio-economic development, as well as access of Nigerians to public goods and services, including quality education, adequate healthcare, clean water and regular electricity supply.”
“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of the FoI requests. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to compel you to comply with our requests.”
“The exercise of oversight functions and powers by the National Assembly to conduct public hearings and corruption probes in MDAs should be regarded as a public trust.”
“The National Assembly has a unique opportunity to enhance transparency and accountability, as well as the integrity of its oversight functions on corruption matters in particular, and other constitutional roles, in general, including by publishing widely the reports of all corruption-related public hearings since 1999.”
“There is legitimate public interest in the publication of the reports of these public hearings and probes. The public hearings and probes can only serve as effective mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption if their reports are widely published.”
“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on reports of all public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since 1999.”
“By Section 4 (a) of the FoI Act, when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”
Honoree and celebrant,CGI Muhammad Babandede MFR (Rtd), His Excellency, Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria,Marcelino Cabanas Ansorena and Country Representative of Guild of Civil Societies and Media Executives for Equity,Justice and Transparency in Nigeria(GOCMEJ),Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele,during the Grand Red Carpet Reception and Special Conferment of Lifetime Achievement Award on the former CGI recently at Abuja.
Defence Intelligence Agency Conducts Defence Advisers /Attaches Annual Conference
The Defence Intelligence Agency(DIA) is conducting Defence Advisers/Attachés Annual Conference and Maiden Retreat for the 2021 with the theme” Advancing Counter Terrorism Efforts Through Enhanced Inter-Agency Cooperation: A Whole of Government Approach”. The event is scheduled to hold from 8-13 November 2021 at Headquarters Defence Intelligence Agency and Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), Asokoro Abuja respectively.
This is According to a press statement signed by Major Joseph Afolashade, Acting Assistant Director Defence Intelligence Agency and made available to the press.
Joseph said the event is one of the veritable platforms designed by the Agency to examine and re-appraise Nigeria’s Defence Advisers/Attachés and foreign defence relations. It will also assist in articulating new strategies in intelligence gathering.
“The event will no doubt be the first in the annals of the Agency since it’s establishment. This is owing to the fact that no platform was created for institutional reflections on its activities with a view to measuring the attainment of its core mandate.
It is against this background that Agency is holding this conference to effectively galvanize inputs in view of the myriads of security challenges facing the nation.
It will also provide an avenue for self-examination mechanism for optimal performance.
This is in line with the policy directive of the President, Commander- in -Chief of the Armed Forces Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on the need to look inward for workable solutions to the myriads of challenges facing the nation”.
“It is in pursuant of this objective, that the Agency is organising it’s maiden Retreat to provide a forum to appraise the activities of the various Defence Sections as well as brainstorm to proffer new strategies in attaining the core mandate of the Agency.
The Conference and Retreat are therefore considered as milestone events in the activities of the Agency that would engender interactions with past Directors of the Agency, former Chiefs of Defence Intelligence and senior intelligence practitioners in the Country”. he said
CCD Executive Director Bags Patriotic Leadership Award
The Executive Director of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities; Mr David Obinna Anyaele on the 5th of November , 2021 bagged the patriotic leadership award presented to him by the African Voice magazine in recognition of his contribution to humanity and his course to promote inclusion for over 31 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
The entourage was led by Mr. Ebenezer Ogunleye, CEO of African Voice Magazine. Others on the entourage are; Diana Omueza, Olawale Oladipupo and Gami Tadanyigbe.
The Award was presented by Mr. Ebenezer Ogunleye who praised the Executive Director for his passion, zeal and commitment to issues and plights that concerns humanity, particularly in his push to make sure that the disability bill was passed into law in 2019. He went further to allude, to the fact that the Executive Director is a worthy recipient and was selected and nominated by worthy Nigerians for the Award.
The Executive Director, talked about the historical journey of the creation of CCD in 2002, he maintained that he remains committed to disability issues, and that he receives the award, on behalf of CCD Board of trustees, staff and volunteers nationwide. He thanked the African Voice Magazine for finding it worthy to give an award to a genuine course.
In attendance also were CCD Staff; Mrs Peace Ezekiel, Ubong Daniel and Humphrey Ukeaja.
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